Wednesday Oct 24, 2018
KARACHI/WASHINGTON: The United States has made it clear to Pakistan that its "South Asia policy has not changed", Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Tuesday night.
Pompeo made the comment as he welcomed long-delayed legislative elections in Afghanistan, saying the United States was 'encouraged' by voter turnout, despite reports of widespread problems including poll centers that failed to open or lacked voter rolls.
"Our expectation is that Pakistan will not provide safe harbour to terrorists on their western border," Pompeo told reporters when asked about Islamabad's role.
"We couldn´t have made that message any more clear," he said, adding: "Pakistan will be held to account if they don't achieve that, if they're not sincere in that effort."
Noting that he "met with Pakistani leaders a few weeks ago", Pompeo while referring to all stakeholders said, "Everyone wants a reconciliation in Afghanistan and to achieve that, you can't have a safe harbour for Taliban, for Haqqani and for others inside of Pakistan."
"Hope Pakistan achieves [the] goal we have set for them," he stated.
President Donald Trump's administration last month cut $300 million in military aid to Pakistan.
Pakistan has said that it has paid a heavy price internally for fighting militants and that it can help bring the Taliban to the table.
A Taliban delegation earlier this month met in Qatar with a US envoy. Prime Minister Imran Khan is a longstanding supporter of negotiations to end the war in Afghanistan, where the United States has been deployed since 2001.